Monday, April 30, 2012

Bugging Out

I came down sick yesterday. Fever. Tired. Lethargic. Before going to bed last night I decided that though I was feeling a little better--who wouldn't after sleeping most of the day--I would not work if I got called in to sub.  I would take the day off and rest and sew the seven May Day costumes I was in charge of. Yes, these are of the twenty-three I made the patterns for. I guess you can call that rest.

I let myself sleep in this morning. I didn't work out. I was saving all my energy to get better and to sew. I said good-bye to the kids as they left for school and then lazily ate my bowl of oatmeal over an Ultimate Monster Sudoku that I started yesterday between naps. After finishing up I stepped out onto the Lanai to check on my container garden; more specifically my plagued strawberries.

Killing What's Eating My Strawberries
Over the weekend I spent some time carefully watching the strawberries and discovered the strawberry ravagers were little tiny ants. (Why is it always little tiny ants? On my countertops, in my camera, and now annihilating my already meager berry crop?!) I had looked up some organic solutions--being that I wanted to be able to consume the strawberries after killing off the ants--and discovered three great ideas: diatomaceous earth, cornmeal and lemon water.

Diatomaceous earth is supposed to scratch up the bugs feet and make them dehydrate and die. Cornmeal is supposed to be undigestable by ants so they eat it and get clogged up and die. Lemon water spritzed on the plants is acidic and the ants (and other bugs) don't like touching the oils and stay away.

I don't have any diatomaceous earth so I put that on the back burner and scattered cornmeal on my strawberries and then for good measure spritzed them with a solution of water and lemon juice. When I checked on them this morning I didn't spot any ants but I did spot one almost ripe strawberry.  If that strawberry is still intact by this evening, when it will be ready to pick, then I think I can safely say I won.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment over the ants I stepped back into the house and into the kitchen to wash up my oatmeal bowl.

A Whole New Can of Worms
Walking into the kitchen I couldn't help but notice how yucky my kitchen floor was. Someone spilled some Lucky Charms this morning and there was a toast crumb trail from the toaster to the island stool. I pulled out the broom and started sweeping up the mess.  A hairband. A couple of twist ties. Rice. Yikes! How long had it been since I'd swept we hadn't had rice in at least a week. Wait, Heath swept yesterday. Kirkham was in charge the day before. Cora the day before that.  I know it had been swept because I watched them do it.

"Wouldn't it be gross if that wasn't rice" I thought, remembering my experience eight years ago in the Bremer house in Fresno. We had had an incredibly horrible experience with moths and meal worms. Yuck. A shiver went up my spine as I leaned down to scoop everything into my dustpan and one of the pieces of rice moved. MOVED!

One of the worms.  They measure about 1/2 in long and about 1/8 inch across.
It WAS meal worms! Or some sort of little whitish, fast moving wormy larvae that pop when you crush them. I started sweeping as fast as I could. I have now swept up, vacuumed up, squished up, steamed up and sprayed up my whole kitchen.  I haven't found a nest.  I have inspected cupboards and ceilings and walls and light fixtures.  I have moved and clean bins, and taken out and cleaned garbage cans. I have tried spraying them with bug killer, with cockroach spray, with lysol, with bleach, with vinegar and have even sprinkled them with salt. The only thing that works is crushing them. I must admit that the little pop is a tad satisfying if not completely disgusting.

Back to Business?
I think I have rid myself of the majority of the little critters though I do continue to spot one or two occasionally, always in totally random spots--it's like they suddenly and magically appear right in the middle of the floor. I'm feeling a bit worn from the last 90 minutes of deworming. I will try to get to my sewing still though I will be itchy all day, watching my step, and checking every bite of food. I can't stand the though of where I might spot those wormies next.

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